Green light to greater height in Ballina
by Brian Bigg The NSW State Government has given the green light for a developer to bust Ballina's building height restriction for the first time. Planning Minister Frank Sartor yesterday approved the Gateway project, a $70 million development planned for the Richmond River near the RSL Club. The original proposal included two seven-storey towers, which exceeded Ballina's height limits. Mr Sartor said his department had consulted extensively with Ballina Shire Council and the public. He said he'd altered the developer's original proposal, and approved one six-storey building, which still exceeds the existing height limit. He didn't believe the approval of the building would create a precedent for Ballina. However, Ballina Mayor Phillip Silver insists the minister, by his actions, has set a precedent. "For many years, council has maintained a height standard of 16 metres. This will be the first time that limit is exceeded," he said. "However, I'm pleased the government had reduced the bulk scale and overall height of the development." Cameron Davis, the managing Director of Samtay Pty Ltd, the Sydney-based developers, said it was a great outcome for Ballina. "If anyone sees what is on the site now, versus what is going to be there in the next two or three years, why wouldn't you embrace it? Height had been conceded for greater access to the river foreshore.